A Real News Source

May 30, 2012

The Onion:

Obama the Sad Sack

Politics today is purely about image. It really doesn’t matter how well-thought or unthought a policy and its consequences are as long as the policymakers looks good and doesn’t embarrass himself he will grab votes. The Onion really makes a sad commentary about what passes for relevant news in politics today. The president eating dog meat while he was growing up in a third-world country has nothing to do with his leadership or ideas. But such a story spends evenings in the news.

These sorts of stories would be relevant if other nations wanted to launch nukes at the States because of these storylines. But the fact of their irrelavance has not caused any news editor’s to question running such stories. The fake news parodies the real news and it isnhqrd to tell the difference. More seriousness is needed in our current political climate.

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So why even pass NCLB?

February 9, 2012

I’m not sure why national lawmakers place “burdens” on the states then decide later which states get to have the burden removed.  If it was a good mandate, then it should apply to all the states.  If it’s a bad mandate, then it shouldn’t get passed.  If it’s good for some states and not for others, then the federal government shouldn’t pass the law but rather allow each state to decide if it’s good for it.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Thursday will free 10 states from the strict and sweeping requirements of the No Child Left Behind law, giving leeway to states that promise to improve how they prepare and evaluate students, The Associated Press has learned.

The first 10 states to receive the waivers are Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The only state that applied for the flexibility and did not get it, New Mexico, is working with the administration to get approval, a White House official told the AP.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the states had not yet been announced. A total of 28 other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have signaled that they, too, plan to seek waivers — a sign of just how vast the law’s burdens have become as a big deadline nears.

This points to a flaw in the system.  When 76% of the states want out of the NCLB requirements, it makes you wonder how it got passed in the first place.  Then you compare the ways senators are elected and the reason becomes abundantly clear.

Voters have elected their senators in the privacy of the voting booth since 1913. The framers of the Constitution, however, did not intend senators to be elected in this way, and included in Article I, section 3, “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.” The election of delegates to the Constitutional Convention established the precedent for state selection.

The propaganda following this excerpt aside, one of the original purposes of the senate was to provide the states a protection against the federal government infringing upon their rights.  Today it is merely a second House of democracy, meaning the states no longer have that protection.  Many voters are so short-sighted that they will elect politicians who will do things on a national level which ends up hurting people on a more local level.  The protection from this short-sightedness is the election of people who are concerned first and foremost with more local matters to the national government.  The founding fathers had this government thing figured out pretty well.

Anyway, here’s some cartoons about NCLB.  Enjoy.

Putting Keystone and payroll tax cuts together is kinda like this.

So Congress Republicans are plotting revenge:

Republican lawmakers will try to force the Obama administration to approve the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline by attaching it to a highway bill that Congress will consider next month, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Sunday.

Attaching Keystone to a pending deal to extend payroll tax cuts for workers, which has greater bipartisan backing than the highway bills, is another vehicle Republicans are considering.

I can see how, in some way, a reasonable person could think that a highway bill and an oil pipeline are related, though not directly.  But attaching it to a payroll tax cut?  What?

This is a general illustration of how dysfunctional Washington is.  Silliness, pure silliness.  We have gone from up and down votes over clear issues to mixing and matching items in bills so the public can be easily manipulated.  It’s like the universal health care bill that doled out college scholarships, as if sending kids to college has anything to do with mandating all Americans have health insurance.

Whenever two different things are put together on a bill, it means one is not likely to go the distance while the other is.  Which means one is not supported by the people, else different politicians would have been elected.  Which means the scatter of items and issues in a bill are mostly passed without consent.

These bills often become law or actions because politicians, under pressure from the public, choose the lesser of two evils.  Is it better to allow this bill to pass with a provision I am staunchly against because the rest of the bill does good things?  Or should I vote against the bill because of the one thing I consider faulty?  Often, the first choice is the route a politician follows.

Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.

The next news story to follow this: “Republicans blast Obama for not allowing big oil companies to cut through the middle of America with a pipeline.”  After all, it makes total sense to send oil 1,700 miles (that’s a full day—24 hours—of interstate driving if traveling 70 mph) from its source to have it refined.  I heard that’s how it works with dry cleaning: local shops ship all their clothing to Maine to have it cleaned and then sent back—oh, wait…that’s not how it works in Normalville.

The president pointed out that the Republicans made an arbitrary deadline for political purposes—old game, Dems just don’t like when the GOP plays it to their own satisfaction.  However, if the Republicans don’t even want to abolish the liberty-infringing regulations that create bureaucracy (and delays) for these sorts of projects, what gives them the right to say “tough luck” when the studies and reports aren’t done by the politically-motivated deadline?

And ultimately, this shenanigan is stupid: what the Republicans should do, if they wanted to solve a problem and not just play party politics, is simply remove the regulations and EPA restrictions which prevent companies from building refineries near the source of oil.  This would not only be more efficient for transporting oil and gas, but it will also provide jobs and drive down the price of gas, which can further open up the economy.  And Obama would suffer serious repercussions if he took action against building new refineries.  What’s his excuse, the refineries are worse than a pipeline bisecting the continent?

“Let’s play the blame game, I hate you.”

Update:  Surprise, surprise!  “Republicans fume as Keystone oil pipeline rejected